Facebook Approaches 700 Million Users: 5 Predictions For The Future

Facebook had only 100 million users when I joined just over 3 years ago. Today Facebook is approaching the 700 million user mark and continues to grow strongly, this is despite itsFacebook Hits 500 million Users 5 Predictions For The The Future privacy issues that have dominated the popular press and it is not unlikely that the 1 Billion users will be the next major milestone.

Currently its revenues are on target to exceed over $1 billion.

Facebook has managed its way through the the Web ecosystem by adding features that have moved it from a walled private garden to a more open social media channel (despite a lot of screaming and gnashing of teeth by more privacy prone individuals) that has been enabled through adding features such as Facebook Connect that allows you to interact with external services like Twitter and allowing people to respond to Facebook messages from their email accounts. Facebook by continuing to open up its platform has so far seemed to have avoided the fate of a fading AOL that tried to maintain a proprietary and locked in approach to its service that stunted its growth and turned it into a fading star.

So what is the future for the this social media leviathan? Will it challenge Google?

Here are some predictions

1. Optimized Aggregator of All Content on All Platforms (including mobile) for Individuals and their Friends

Currently a lot of people use it to place a lot of their photos, notes and comments about their life. You will see more features added to Facebook that will allow videos and other multi-media rich content to be  shared on social media channels like Facebook. Content aggregation will be continually optimized and organized by the Facebook software engineers and social scientists as they add more features to the Facebook platform that will make it easy for users to add more and more content in all its forms. The commencement of its mobile content strategy can be found at its new mobile site 0.Facebook.com that will allow Facebook to expand its international reach.

2. Portals and Websites for Businesses

I have seen companies that have actually started using Facebook instead of their website as the first digital online Gateway for customers and online visitors. This has been facilitated by vanity and user URL’s that provide a more search engine and user friendly web address. This is dangerous because you don’t own the channel, you are only renting on Facebook’s terms but this will not deter some companies and I think that this may continue to grow and you may find Facebook encouraging this by adding more features and functionality that are business focused

3. Blogging Platform Replacement

It is because that using Facebook is so easy to use and feature rich that setting up your own blog is is too hard for a lot of people so Facebook provides a ready to go platform that gets them up and running in minutes. It doesn’t mean that is the best choice but ‘easy trumps hard’ for most people. Serious niche bloggers will continue to use their own domain and self host. (read more on this at the post titled “Is Facebook Killing the Blog“)

4. Monetization will Continue to Grow

Advertising is cheaper on Facebook than Google and has been shown to be more effective and efficient than the search engine giant.  Facebook’s advertising can very tightly target specific demographics through its very deep and broad database that users have voluntarily provided about themselves and their personal life, this type of targeting is something Google can only dream about.  Facebook will continue to explore multiple avenues of monetization that take advantage of a 500 million user database.

5. Continual Integration With Every Corner Of  The Web

This process is starting to be seen with the the Facebook share and Facebook like buttons that drive people back to the Facebook channel to view what other people have found to be informative, interesting or funny.

Facebook’s star is certainly on the rise and may continue for some time to come but remember nothing is forever

So what do you think the future holds for Facebook, love to hear your comments?

Comments

  • Erica Olenski

    With the introduction of Facebook Connect and the open graph, I truly think that you are right on with continual integration. I think in the near future, things will be more integrated and connected than they have ever been before.

  • Gems in the 604

    Thanks for these great Facebook insights!
    I’m one of those 500 million users…wouldn’t it be nice if they shared profits with their users. Wishful thinking?!

  • CCWriter

    I work at a public university and have been listening to college students lament that Facebook is too big and is not just for them anymore. Can another prediction be that college students will create a new platform or model just for them (no parents, no kid brothers or sister)? And, if so, how will that reshape Facebook?

  • http://earningtopincome.com Ed

    Citation needed on number 4. Many types of businesses have found advertising on facebook to be a waste of their internet marketing dollar.

    • Marion

      I agree. Our ads on Facebook have been a waste of money. Not much money, that’s true, but a waste of time and resources, nonetheless.

  • http://www.thatguitarman.com Laura

    Ha! What a phenomenon!
    For a feel-good laugh, check out my friend indie singer-songwriter DAVID IPPOLITO’s hilarious new song
    FACEBOOK IS A STUPID IDIOT on YouTube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDHb4wewAIQ

    It’s just FUN! And FUNNY! And so true!

    Even devoted Facebookers are ROFL and posting this on their own Facebook walls!
    Spread the smiles!

  • http://bit.ly/92nIUo 604 Gems

    Jeff! I think we need to take a closer look at how the 500 million mark was determined.
    According to my simple math word problem, it’s highly unlikely. http://bit.ly/92nIUo
    How accurate are the accounts of 500 million Facebook users?
    Please advise!
    Thanks

  • Pam Roes

    I can see where Facebook would replace traditional websites and blog pages. Setting up a blog page and designing and maintaining a website is a big effort. With Social Media you can cultivate and meet your audience faster. Facebook will still need to compete with websites at establishing credibility, diving deep into content, online purchasing, advertising, and providing metrics. I think that can be done.

  • http://www.tankumslegacy.com Facebook Fanpage Software

    This post is very valid, it’s refreshing to see quality work…as we work hard everyday to create the best advertisng facebook software. If you get the chance come check us out!

  • http://daleod.com Dale O’Donnell

    I used to be a huge fan of Facebook but when I started using twitter, we fell apart :). Twitter > Facebook in my opinion.

  • http://twitter.com/lisaga Lisa Galarneau

    Interesting how Facebook has become the integrate-able social network. Must be that open API. More openness please!

  • http://www.laurenproctor32.com Lauren Proctor

    Jeff, I think this post is right on. Like Dale, I like Twitter better than Facebook (and the potential of Google Plus even more), but it looks like Facebook is set to continue their web dominance.  

    Your point about blogs got me to thinking.  Will Facebook make feature enhancements that start attracting the power blogger set?  Right now the best a blogger can do is create a conventional brand page for their brand/blog, but what if Facebook gave these influential bloggers a reason to use their platform as a publishing medium (think Seth Godin on Facebook as opposed to Typepad for example, or a Scobleizer Facebook hub).

    It seems like a natural progression for a platform looking to keep people on the social network as long as possible.  Do you think it’s possible that Facebook move in this direction as well?

  • http://www.laurenproctor32.com Lauren Proctor

    Jeff, I think this post is right on. Like Dale, I like Twitter better than Facebook (and the potential of Google Plus even more), but it looks like Facebook is set to continue their web dominance.  

    Your point about blogs got me to thinking.  Will Facebook make feature enhancements that start attracting the power blogger set?  Right now the best a blogger can do is create a conventional brand page for their brand/blog, but what if Facebook gave these influential bloggers a reason to use their platform as a publishing medium (think Seth Godin on Facebook as opposed to Typepad for example, or a Scobleizer Facebook hub).

    It seems like a natural progression for a platform looking to keep people on the social network as long as possible.  Do you think it’s possible that Facebook move in this direction as well?

  • http://www.laurenproctor32.com Lauren Proctor

    Jeff, I think this post is right on. Like Dale, I like Twitter better than Facebook (and the potential of Google Plus even more), but it looks like Facebook is set to continue their web dominance.  

    Your point about blogs got me to thinking.  Will Facebook make feature enhancements that start attracting the power blogger set?  Right now the best a blogger can do is create a conventional brand page for their brand/blog, but what if Facebook gave these influential bloggers a reason to use their platform as a publishing medium (think Seth Godin on Facebook as opposed to Typepad for example, or a Scobleizer Facebook hub).

    It seems like a natural progression for a platform looking to keep people on the social network as long as possible.  Do you think it’s possible that Facebook move in this direction as well?

  • Paul

    It seems that Facebook is becoming ‘the web’ and all the liberties of the internet are being swept up and gathered behind the wall of one huge private organisation. Facebook doesn’t need to be anything more that it was 3 years ago, or rather people don’t need it to be.

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